Engineering

Best in engineering: 4 times in a row

AC & E Engineering Underwriting Managers have won the PMR Diamond Award as the best Engineering Underwriter in South Africa for the 4th consecutive year. Based on this stunning achievement, we decided that a Coffee with COVER interview, sponsored by Global Choices, would bring some interesting insight to our readers. We spoke to Anne-Marie Fourie, Managing Director: AC&E Group of Companies and AC & E Professional Indemnity and Liability.

Congratulations on winning the Diamond PMR Award as top Engineering Underwriter for a Fourth year in a row. What does it mean to you to win the award?

It serves as a confirmation that the market recognises our dedication to deliver the very best service in all aspects from quotes, the issuing of the policy and claims handling. The PMR survey is quite thorough in the aspects of underwriting skill which they look for in selecting winners– not just technical expertise, but also speed of service and quality of product delivered to the market – so I see it as recognition of all the hard work which me and my team have done over the past 4 years.

Why would you say you win the award every year? What would be standing out?

Our service, product knowledge and company culture are the main contributors. The PMR survey canvasses a wide range of brokers throughout the country – and I strive to create a broker-centric environment at AC&E, which I think stands out.

Obviously, your staff are the greatest contributors to this win. How do you generate a culture of greatness?

Every staff member is handpicked by management and groomed for their specific function in the company. Everyone also works as an integral part of the team with an understanding of the bigger picture. I spend a lot of time and resources in handpicking talented people who aspire to be the best. They are as interested as I am in creating a winning team.

Back to Engineering Underwriting. What is this environment like in, light of the economic challenges? What do you expect in the year to come?

Engineering is a tough and competitive environment where knowledge and experience is respected and where the economy strongly influences a good or bad year. Over the last decade, we’ve built a solid reputation, together with New National Assurance Company (NNAC), of a being strong market player and we expect to continue being the preferred market choice going forward.

What recommendations do you have for brokers operating in this environment?

I would definitely say Know Your Product and make sure you understand the cover required, your client’s needs and work closely with your Insurance underwriter when placing the cover. Also, be aware that the cheapest cover is not always the best for your client! Confirm what is covered and the extensions and limits offered in a quote as well as the policy wording to provide your client with the best product for their requirement. Finally, develop a close relationship with your underwriter.

Please give us a short tour through your career. What have been the highlights for you?

I have been in the industry for over 25 years – but the highlight was when I met NNAC and their management team- Mahmoud Rajab, Gony Pillay and Kalim Rajab. We have gone from strength to strength together – they are now the country’s largest empowered insurer and are consistently “A” rated, which gives comfort to our insureds. More than that, they are as committed to me as I am to them. That is the basis of a great partnership. The two organisations worked closely together when we decided last year to also enter the Professional Indemnity (PI) and Liability space, as well as the Commercial arena. In all of these endeavours, it is important to both our companies to offer the best service and commitment to our mutual clients. For me that’s the difference between NNAC and other insurers in the market.

When you take your engineering underwriter’s hat off, what makes you tick?

I never take my hat off as I love what I do – but in my free time I love cooking and travelling, especially to New Orleans!

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